BESSIE IRENE GEORGE WALKER

Bessie George was born in Mayhill on December 17, 1916, to Carrie Belle Whitt and John Colvin George. John C. George was born in 1896 in Fayetteville, Arkansas to Ella Colvin and David George. They came to Roswell around 1900, and purchased a farm, which is now in the business district on East Second near Atkinson Street. Some of the property is still owned by family members.

Carrie Belle Whitt was born in 1899 in Elk, New Mexico to Martha Stephens and Jess Whitt, who had come to New Mexico from the Oklahoma Territory. Bell, as she was called, was the youngest of eight children.

Bessie's mother was married to John George, and had two children by him - Bessie and her sister Jessie Harrell Marcy. Their mother, Bell, married Jim Campbell in 1921, and had five more children - Hazel Walker, Lavaden (known as Kitty) Culbertson Schultz, James Edwin, who married Joanne Kirkpatrick; John Millard, and Opal Eskue. Kitty, James and Millard are all deceased.

Bessie started school in Sixteen Springs at an early age to help meet a quota which would permit the school to remain open. She also attended school in Cloudcroft with life-long friend Sara Jo Patterson. Her last schooling was in Roswell, where she stayed with her grandparents, the Georges.

Bessie came back to Sixteen Springs and later married Albert William Walker, also a native of the Sacramento Mountains. Albert was born in Sixteen Springs Canyon to John William (Willie) Walker and Ollie Landis on May 21, 1913. Albert attended school in Sixteen Springs, Tularosa, and Western New Mexico and Redlands Colleges. He came back to Sixteen Springs and worked for his grandfather, Charles O. Walker, on his ranch which was purchased in 1887 or 1888.

Bessie and Albert worked as a team. Albert farmed, raising oats, barley and corn and also helped with the cattle and Bessie helped him with whatever he was doing. Twice a year they gathered and moved the cattle - to the lower country in the fall and back up to the high country in the spring. This was usually a three day trip and they camped out with the cattle at night. Bessie usually drove the truck which served as a chuck wagon and hauled anything from their bed rolls to baby calves if the need arose.

Though the "home place" sold in about 1951, Albert and Bessie continued to keep a few cattle and move them from summer pastures to winter pastures twice a year until the last years of Albert's life. He passed away on April 10, 1997.

Bessie's daughter says her mother always cooked and was a good one. "We had no telephone or electricity and when unexpected company would come in the summer, Mother could kill a fryer or two, dress them and cook them while Daddy made a trip to the garden to pick corn (roasting ears) and other vegetables. Mother would have a big, delicious meal ready in less time than I can prepare a meal with a freezer full of meat and vegetables, a microwave and a modern stove."

In the fall, thrashing crews would go from farm to farm harvesting the fall bounties. A family member remembers how much food Bessie and Bell would prepare for the thrashing crews when they were at the Walkers. Of course this was done with no modern conveniences. Electricity came to the canyon earlier but we didn't get it until about 1950.

Bessie's only work outside the home also had to do with cooking. For seventeen years she worked for the Alamogordo School District cooking in the lunch rooms. Most of that time, she worked at the High Rolls School. She worked hard but really enjoyed the association with all the children and the staff at the school. Some of her fondest memories and lasting friendships were made during her tenure at the school.

Bessie and most of her family are of the Christadelphian faith and she and Albert attended in Sixteen Springs and later in La Luz.

Bessie's children, Larry, and his wife Barbara, and Yvonne and her husband G.B. Oliver both live a short distance from her. Bessie has eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.